Shurland Abbey, Isle of Sheppy

ringsThe remains of Shurland Hall stand on the Isle of Sheppey. It was once one of Kent’s most important Tudor mansions, having been re-built by Sir Thomas Cheney (l482–l558), Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and Treasurer of the Household, on the site of an earlier medieval castle. Sir Thomas Cheney is supposed to have demolished the original buildings and built a new mansion between 1510–18. However, it is thought more likely that he extended and revamped at least some of the earlier structures. The house was later enlarged, this work being completed by the time Henry VIII visited in 1532. The house was supposed to have been enlarged before the royal visit, with wings added from the gateway, a banqueting hall built to the east side of the inner courtyard, and dormitories on either side. In its final form it is believed that there were not less than nine quadrangles enclosed within high stone walls, the complex spreading over several acres, and presumably presenting an impressive sight. Sir Thomas Cheney died in December 1558 and the estate passed to his son Henry. From that time on, Shurland Hall gradually went into decline. Now virtually derelict, tree-ring dating is in progress as part of a major conservation effort.